THE FIRST parkrun of 2019 at Queen Elizabeth Country Park took place on New Year’s Day, and it also was the 300th running of the event at the country park.

A record-shattering 408 runners took part, which included more than 250 who were completing their second Parkrun of the day.

New Year’s Day is the only day of the year when two Parkruns can be recorded as event teams are allowed to stagger the start times, and 185 entrants had run at Havant first while 28 came from the Hogmoor Inclosure (Bordon) Parkrun.

The first finisher was City of Portsmouth Athletic Club’s Jacob O’Hara, who finished in 17min 29secs. He was also the first junior runner to finish.

Julian Manning’s second place finish in 17min 53secs was also noteworthy as he had finished first at Havant Parkrun just over an hour earlier. Manning also produced the top age graded performance of the day of 78.1 per cent running in the VM 40-44 category.

The first female runner home was Gemma Russhard from Lymington Triathlon Club. She finished 18th overall in a time of 20min 38secs.

Run director James Leighton said: “The volunteer team kept cool and handled everything perfectly.

“To go from an average attendance of about 80 to over 400 was quite an experience.

“There was a real team effort afterwards to manually enter the times of the runners who did not get an official finish token.

“I am very happy that so many people are now starting off the New Year with a run.”